Apple Moving Macs from Intel to ARM Processors?
Apple may be looking to move their laptop lineup from Intel processors to ARM CPU’s sometime in the next few years. According to a report on SemiAccurate, the move away from Intel is a “done deal” and that the transition to ARM processors will likely happen to Apple’s desktop lineup as well. ARM processors currently power Apple’s iOS lineup including the iPhone and iPad, while Intel processors power all existing Macs.
SemiAccurate (maybe that name is telling?) who claims to have sources with knowledge of the matter, seems absolutely certain of the move:
So short story, x86 is history on Apple laptops, or will be in 2-3 years. In any case, it is a done deal, Intel is out, and Apple chips are in. The only question left is if they will use their own core, a Samsung core, or the generic ARM black box.
They also say that waiting 2-3 years is enough time for ARM to develop higher end chips with full 64 bit support. MacRumors further notes that Apple has made heavy investments in ARM architecture, acquiring several companies to move the processor design in-house and completely under their control.
This rumor has caused quite an outrage on the Mac web, since ARM CPU’s are perceived as significantly less powerful than Intel CPU’s, although waiting a few years may be enough time for processing power to catch up. While the move may seem farfetched, it’s entirely possible considering Apple transitioned from IBM CPU’s to Intel CPU’s which caused similar disbelief and frustration, but ultimately results in more powerful Macs.
The idea of ARM processors coming to Mac hardware has also reignited the theory of iOS and Mac OS X merging down the road, as several Apple patents originally suggested such hybrid machines are in the works (touch Mac, iMac touch runs Mac OS & iOS, MacBook touch, etc). The basic idea is a single OS that transitions between an easy interface, perhaps how LaunchPad in Lion resembles the iOS switchboard, that is intended for most users, while power users would have access to a more advanced interface for things like app development and system administration.
Remember, this is all rumor, theory, and conjecture, so until you see an announcement from Apple, nothing is guaranteed.